Mustafa Yavas

Mustafa Yavas's picture
M.Sc. Industrial Engineering (Bogazici University, 2015)
B.Sc. Industrial Engineering (Bogazici University, 2011)
Areas of Interest: 
Inequality; Class & Culture; Sociology of Work; Political Sociology; Social Networks; Computational Sociology
The Ambivalent White-Collar? The Making of the New Global Middle Class in Contemporary Turkey

My research has been revolving around social, spatial, and cultural forms and manifestations of boundary processes, including homophily in social networks, residential segregation by income, collective identity formation in social movements, and currently, I am focusing on the formation of the new global middle classes. I rely on multiple methods in my research, ranging from qualitative methods of interviews and fieldwork to computational methods of agent-based modeling, social network analysis, and automated text analysis.

In my dissertation, I explore the intertwined processes of globalization and class formation, with a particular focus on the quality of work life of elite Turkish business professionals with high prestige & high salary corporate jobs in Istanbul and New York City. Since the 1980s, Turkish economy has followed the global tide, increasingly embracing neoliberal institutions and values. As transnational corporations (TNCs) outpaced the Turkish state and corporations in becoming the primary employer of the highly educated workforce, the Turkish middle class began to bifurcate: a globally-mobile, neoliberal subjectivity has been layered atop a nationally-embedded, old middle-class one. Focusing on the post-1980s cohorts and drawing from a total 100 interviews with i) senior undergraduates on the job market and recruitment professionals of TNCs; ii) elite Turkish white-collars of New York City and Istanbul; and iii) “corporate dropouts,” who quitted their corporate lives, my dissertation follows the members of this evolving stratum through the employment life course: i) selection into, ii) surviving, and iii) opting-out of high prestige & high salary corporate jobs.

I also work on a project that aims to map the field of political opinion in contemporary Turkey and its change over time via combining automated text analysis with social networks. Drawing from a dataset I created, consisting of opinion pieces in Turkish daily newspapers, I am currently studying the discursive similarities among columnists and newspapers regarding their references to the Gezi Park Resistance—a large-scale uprising that shook Turkey in 2013.